A-10 Completes Developmental Tests with Guided Rocket

The 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin AFB, Fla., completed developmental flight testing of BAE Systems’ fixed-wing Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II on the A-10 ground-attack aircraft, according to a base release. The first of three shots of the 2.75-inch diameter, 35-pound, laser-guided rocket occurred in February, with the weapon impacting inches away from the target, according to the April 3 release. The Air Force is performing this testing under an Office of the Secretary of Defense-sponsored joint concept technology demonstration that aims to take the combat-proven APKWS, which Marine Corps helicopters have used in Afghanistan, and modify it for use on fixed-wing platforms. The lightweight rocket is designed to minimize collateral damage. “We don’t have a precision weapon out there now that can do that,” said Joe Stromsness, project manager. Operational testing on the A-10 and F-16 is slated to start in May at China Lake Test Range in California. The Navy in March tested this variant of APKWS on the AV-8B. This weapon could be ready for operational use by 2015, according to the release. (Eglin report by Samuel King Jr.)